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Disability and Health Educational Interventions

Numerous people in the United States have some variety of disability that is associated with difficulties in everyday life. Some issues may be physical, such as blindness, deafness, non-functioning or absent limbs, or other varieties of permanent damage. Others are intellectual, most prominently represented by learning disabilities, which create special needs for children in education and later on in life. All of these problems affect one’s life in different ways and necessitate a number of different accommodations to be partially or fully circumvented. They also present a danger to the person’s health and life if not addressed, particularly in extreme situations.

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However, the necessary accommodations can be made only through the spreading of awareness throughout the population. As such, this essay will review the issue and the population-based educational interventions that can address it.

Disability is a broad category that can apply to a large range of people of varying abilities. Per Disability and health (n.d.), 18.7%, or 56.7 million people, of the population of the United States have disabilities of some variety. Older adults are at particular risk because of their tendency to develop mental and physical issues with age that cannot be treated effectively. All of their conditions are associated with various health concerns that they need to take specific measures to prevent.

Disability & health (2020) states that, in Florida, 28.1% of adults have a disability, as opposed to the nationwide average of 25.6%, though they are less likely than others to exhibit unhealthy behavioral patterns despite the state’s higher rates of severe functional impairment. As such, measures need to be taken to address the problem, which is overall more problematic than across the nation.

It is challenging to estimate the risk of morbidity and mortality that is associated with disability as a whole, as some of its varieties have limited effects on life while others can be extremely debilitating. With that said, statistics regarding the dangers of particular types of disability are often collected. Landes (2017) finds that people with intellectual impairments are overall more likely to die in a given period than their non-impaired peers, though the difference diminishes with age. Similar considerations of higher risks of morbidity and mortality are likely also present for physical issues such as mobility impairment, blindness, and deafness as a result of the higher risk of accidents. Inadequate measures are being taken to reduce the dangers, likely as a result of lacking education regarding the prevalence and dangers of the conditions.

Healthy People 2020 has a number of goals for promoting health among populations with various disabilities. Disability and health (n.d.) lists four different categories of objectives that need to be addressed for the issue to be minimized: systems and policies, barriers to health care, environment, and activities and participation. The first aims to improve the monitoring of people with disabilities and the promotion of health among them. To that end, it promotes data systems, health surveillance, and education programs regarding studies in disabilities and health. The second target category aims to increase access to healthcare among people with disabilities.

Additionally, it will increase the transitions between pediatric and adult care, appropriate medication usage, and appropriate medical care for people with epilepsy. As a result, people with disabilities will receive the treatments they require and reduce the chance of morbidity development.

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The third objective category concerns the difficulties that people with disabilities encounter in their everyday lives. In particular, it aims to address the matter of visitable features for homes and residential buildings that enable people with various disabilities to access them. Moreover, it attempts to remove barriers toward the usage of wellness programs and reduce the reliance of people with disabilities on congregate care residences.

Lastly, the activities and participation category ensures that the person with disabilities engages in society as normally as possible. It aims to improve employment and reduce unemployment, assisting underage people with their education. Additionally, there are objectives for affected adults and children to participate in social activities and be supported socially and emotionally as opposed to feeling isolated. Overall, the Healthy People 2020 program aims to improve the lives of people with disabilities on all fronts through a variety of measures.

It is challenging to discuss a broad educational intervention for the population discussed due to the variety of issues that are present. However, it is possible to provide some examples, particularly those targeted at intellectual disabilities. For physical issues, limited education is necessary in addition to current programs, as, for many people, the issue and its effects are apparent. The first intervention discussed is targeted at older adults with intellectual disabilities, which tend to require assistance in their everyday lives. Schepens et al. (2019) propose a set of educational programs for healthcare workers who deal with seniors regarding disabilities as well as measures for the affected patients. People who interact with such individuals need to be aware of the potential dangers present in their environment and best practices in minimizing or eliminating them.

The second intervention proposed concerns the issue of children with intellectual disabilities who have yet to learn practices that can improve their health and reduce various dangers. While children without such issues can be taught proper practices normally, the affected population category struggles with traditional learning and needs special accommodations. Hidayati et al. (2019) propose educating them in personal hygiene with audiovisual methods to reduce the dangers of them developing various conditions. With that said, the approach did not demonstrate adequately powerful effects on the behavior and self-efficacy of the target population.

As such, additional research is necessary for the problem to be addressed through more effective and comprehensive interventions. Without this assistance, the children would struggle to become self-sufficient and likely develop additional illnesses that can endanger their health.

Overall, disability and its effects on health are large-scale problems with extreme complexity that need to be addressed through a multifaceted intervention. The term incorporates a variety of different issues that have nearly entirely unrelated effects in many cases and, therefore, demand separate treatments. Education regarding the dangers of various disabilities and best practices in their treatment is essential for the promotion of health among people with these issues. With that said, due to the needs of people with intellectual impairments, it also needs to be adapted to suit their needs and particular issues. Additionally, the population at large needs to understand the requirements that need to be satisfied for people with disabilities to be fully included in social life. The proposed interventions can help advance the health of this population category, though they do not encompass the entirety of the population or its issues.

References

Disability & health U.S. state profile data for Florida (adults 18+ years of age). (2020). Web.

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Disability and health. (n.d.). Web.

Hidayati, T., Akrom, A., Nurasa, I., & Erviana, E. (2019). Health education improve behavior and self-efficacy on personal hygiene among children with intellectual disability. International Journal of Public Health Science, 8(4), 391-399.

Landes, S. D. (2017). The intellectual disability mortality disadvantage: Diminishing with age? American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 122(2), 192-207.

Schepens, H. R., Van Puyenbroeck, J., & Maes, B. (2019). How to improve the quality of life of elderly people with intellectual disability: A systematic literature review of support strategies. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 32(3), 483-521.

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